On January 11th, 2019, the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District, Little Rock School District, North Little Rock School District and the Pulaski County Special School District, announced the launch of an exploratory study into Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL), the education initiative of the Ford Motor Company Fund.
NGL represents an inclusive, comprehensive community initiative that brings together educators, employers, and community leaders to implement a proven model for transforming secondary schools, which ultimately improves the regional workforce development system.
The results of that report were released May 1, 2019 and include a conclusion that the four Pulaski County public school districts, along with community and business partners, are in a strong position to undertake this transformation to improve student outcomes for all students in the districts.
According to the report, “Based on our research, observations, and analysis, we believe Pulaski County districts are at a unique juncture and on the verge of community-connected education transformation. The local and regional workforce presents various high-wage, high-skill opportunities for students. Community leaders, educators (secondary and post-secondary), and employers in Pulaski County are interested in transformation and see this moment in time as the stars aligning for the change that this community needs.”
The report, which was underwritten by Entergy Arkansas, was informed by data collected over a four-day visit by the NGL team to the community. They held meetings with school leaders, teachers, parents, students and alumni from all the high schools; district and state education officials; school and community advisory board presidents; teachers association representatives; leaders from UA Pulaski Tech; state legislators; chambers of commerce; and business and community leaders.
The study also outlines an inclusive community planning process for the districts to follow should they choose to move forward with this initiative. These include community visioning sessions and a representative master planning committee of over one hundred business and community members who would, in partnership with teachers and district officials, help write a master plan to guide the transformation efforts of the individual districts.